D&D 5e Guide: What is Water Genasi?

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, the Water Genasi are an interesting class because they have some connection to the Elemental Plane of Water.

This makes them different from others since it makes them useful in naval campaigns but not so much in others.

This Water Genasi guide for 5e tells you everything you need to know to play one of these characters as a new player.

First, let’s talk about some of the basics of how to play a water genasi in 5e.

Water Genasi Traits

Water The traits of Genasi show how they are related to water. This includes race-specific traits like being able to move faster, breathe easier, and control water.

Everything the Water Genasi get because of their race works with their natural connection to water. This means getting faster at swimming and being able to breathe underwater.

All this means is that Water Genasi are great for adventures that take place in water. But ifarehere is no water nearby or no dangers that involve water, their race traits won’t help much.

Keep in mind that these are the default traits and ability score increases for Water Genasi.

You can change which Ability Scores you improve if you use the optional Customizing Your Origin rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

First and foremost, the Water Genasi is a subrace of the Genasi character race. So, you start by getting traits from your base race.

Genasi Base Traits


You have a firm grasp of the linguistics of both the common and primordial languages.

The words in Primordial are gruff and full of harsh consonants and syllables.

Ability Score Increase

Your score for Constitution goes up by 2.


Genasi are as different as their human parents, but most of them are about 5 to 6 feet tall and have human bodies. The size of you is medium.


Your base speed when walking is 30 feet.

After that, you get your Water Genasi traits, which make your character seem like it belongs in the water.

Water Genasi Subrace Traits

Ability Score Increase

Your score for Wisdom goes up by 1.

Acid Resistance

You have resistance to acid damage.


Both air and water can be breathed in.


You can swim 30 feet per minute.

Call the Wave

You know how water can change shape. With this trait, when you reach the 3rd level, you can cast the create or destroy water spell as a 2nd-level spell once.

After a long rest, you can cast it again this way. For these spells, your ability to cast them is based on your Constitution.

Now that we’ve gone over these, the biggest benefit of being a Water Genasi is that you can cast spells without even trying.

Acid damage is fine, but it doesn’t happen very often in 5e, so resistance to it isn’t all that useful.

In the same way, being able to breathe underwater and swimming quickly can be helpful in some situations, but that’s the problem. They depend on the situation.

Still, the spells that Water Genasi gets depend on the situation. So, everything these characters get from their race choice is better for adventures that take place in the water.

Water Genasi Names

Most of the time, water genasi take the naming style of their mortal parents. But they might also get a nickname that shows how they are naturally connected to water because it is their element.

Usually, a water genasi is raised by a human parent or parents. As a result, Water Genasi tend to take their names from their parents’ heritage and region.

For example, if your Water Genasi is of elven descent but has an essence blessed by the Elemental Plane of Water, both their first and last names are probably elven.

In the same way, a Water Genasi with Orc roots would have an Orc name. The list goes on and on.

Now, a fun thing about Genasi in general, not just the Water type, is that they like to give themselves nicknames that show how close they are to their elemental roots.

Keeping this in mind, Water Genasi might give themselves a nickname that shows how much they like water.

Some nicknames for Water Genasi are:

  1. Wave
  2. Brine
  3. pool
  4. Undertow
  5. River
  6. Rain
  7. Splash
  8. Bay
  9. Flood
  10. Cascade

Physical Appearance of Water Genasi

Water Genasi are the same shape and size as their mortal parents, but they have unique traits that show they come from another world.

Their skin, hair, and eyes may look or feel different, and their voice may sound like it’s coming from underwater.

Even though they have elemental ties, Water Genasi mostly look like their mortal ancestors, though they have some strange traits that show their more magical roots.

So, no matter who their mortal parents are, they have the shape of a regular humanoid.

Aside from that, water genasi are different from regular humanoids because they have aquatic features.

This could mean that their limbs have small fin-like protrusions, their skin is a different color, or their hair floats on its own.

Let’s talk about some of the different ways a Water Genasi looks that you can think about when making your character.

Water Genasi Skin

Some water genasi have unusual skin colors, often greens and blues. They also have a thin layer of moisture on their skin, which makes it look like they just got out of the shower.

Even though they look like humans, water genasi usually have strange skin qualities that set them apart from their humanoid relatives.

Most of the time, these traits show up in the parents of a Water Genasi as unusual skin tones. But those aren’t the only ways a Water Genasi character’s skin tone can show their elemental ancestry.

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Your ears might have a more aquatic shape, or you might not have any ears at all. You might have small marks that look like scales on the backs of your thighs. Or maybe your fingers and toes are joined together.

Basically, your Water Genasi character’s skin should be based on features that make sense for aquatic creatures.

Some of the different ways Water Genasi’s skin can look are:

  1. Small drops of water always stick to your skin.
  2. Your ears resemble fins
  3. Your skin is greenish-blue.
  4. You smell a little bit like the ocean all the time.
  5. Light dances softly across your face like it’s shining through the water.

Water Genasi Hair

Water genasi people sometimes have hair that looks like it’s floating on its own, like it’s in water. It also often grows in colors that aren’t typical for mortals, like green or blue.

Like their skin, Water Genasi have a wide range of hairstyles that show how they are connected to their elemental roots.

The hair of a Water Genasi may look normal, but it has a natural color that would be unusual for someone with mortal roots.

You can also give your character more fantastic hairstyles that fit with the fact that they live on the water.

Examples of unique hair features for Water Genasi:

  1. Your hair looks like tentacles when it sticks together.
  2. Even when you’re not moving, your hair floats and moves slightly, as if it were in the water.
  3. No matter how hard you try to dry your hair, it’s always wet.
  4. Your hair looks more like a sea urchin’s spines than real hair.
  5. You don’t have hair; instead, small fin-like ridges run back and forth along your scalp.

Water Genasi Eyes

Water Genasi often have eyes that are a little bit bigger than usual for people with their heritage. Also, their eyes are almost always very dark.

The default way to describe a Water Genasi’s eyes is that they are “a little bit too big.” So, they look almost like fish.

Aside from that, you can give your Water Genasi character magical effects like light shimmering on water or eyes that reflect light back.

Some of the ways Water Genasi can look:

  1. They look normal, but there’s a slight shimmer to them, like a creek.
  2. Your eyes are a little big and look like they’re about to pop out of your head.
  3. Your eyes are a golden yellow color.
  4. Your whole eye, which doesn’t have a pupil or an iris, is a shiny silver color.
  5. You have no irises, just small, black pupils

Water Genasi Voice

When some Water Genasi talk, it sounds like their words are echoing underwater or are mixed with the sound of water trickling.

When making a character, vocal qualities are often not used enough. Yes, people can have accents or speak in a certain way, but when it comes to character races that are more magical, you can make your character’s speech sound more strange.

With Water Genasi, you can make their voices sound like they are underwater or like whales are singing underneath.

Example vocal qualities for Water Genasi:

  1. Your words have a deep, droning sound to them.
  2. When you talk, the sound of a creek bubbling in the distance can be heard in the background.
  3. You sound like you have water in your throat sometimes.
  4. Your voice has a slight echo to it like you’re in a cave by the sea.
  5. When you say words with “sh” or “ch,” it sounds a little bit like a wave crashing.

Best Classes for Water Genasi in 5e

In 5e, the best classes for Water Genasi are those that take advantage of their natural Ability Score Increase and their extra spells.

This means that most of the time, the classes that use Wisdom to cast spells get the most out of playing a character of this race.

Because their Ability Score Increase gives them an extra point in Wisdom, Water Genasi do best in classes that use that stat, like Cleric, Druid, Monk, and Ranger. Unfortunately, this race’s other racial traits don’t really help any class that much.

The +2 constitution that comes from being a Genasi is good for almost any class.

It helps frontline fighters stay alive longer and gives spellcasters a better chance of succeeding on Concentration saving throws.

The biggest problem with being a Water Genasi in almost any class is that their racial traits are only useful in certain situations.

They don’t really help any class play well.

It’s nice to be able to handle acid damage when you need to. But this type of damage doesn’t happen very often, so you probably won’t use it much.

For water adventures, it’s helpful to be able to swim quickly and breathe underwater. Water is also a good thing to try to get around.

But this depends on the game you’re playing and what the Game Master throws at you.

Water Genasi’s spells are pretty good. But they need to be close to a place where they can get water.

Again, all of this is based on the normal Water Genasi traits. If you use Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything’s “Customizing Your Origin” rules, you might be able to play a Water Genasi in any class by switching around the Ability Score Increases.

Still, some classes benefit more from the other racial traits than others.

So, here are Water Genasi’s five best classes, in no particular order:

  1. Cleric
  2. Paladin
  3. Ranger
  4. Sorcerer
  5. Warlock

Keeping all of this in mind, let’s talk about each class and how well it fits the Water Genasi.

Water Genasi Artificer

Artificer is not a very good choice for Water Genasi by default. Since they don’t have an Ability Score Increase for Intelligence, they’ll have more trouble as an Artificer than with other classes.

Also, the Water Genasi can cast spells that aren’t on the Artificer’s list, but the Artificer’s Infusions can do the same things as the racial traits.

As artisans, water genasi have the most to offer because they can cast more spells. But the class has a way to do a lot of what the Water Genasi can do through their infusions.

On the other hand, since these spells are built in, the infusions can be used for other things. So, that might be a good point to make.

Water Genasi Barbarian

Water Genasi could be a barbarian, which is not a bad choice. The Constitution Ability Score Increase and the resistance to acid damage are both good for this class, but since you don’t have strength, you’ll be better at defense than offense.

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As long as you don’t break the rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, playing a Water Genasi Barbarian doesn’t give you a strength boost.

This would make your attacks less effective. The bonus to Constitution would still give your character a good number of hit points, though.

Aside from that, the Water Genasi don’t have many traits that make them good barbarians. If you’re not playing a Path of the Totem Warrior Barbarian, the resistance to acid damage is nice.

But you can’t cast spells while Raging, so the ones you get from this race aren’t very useful.

Still, having a swim speed means that your attacks take less damage when you’re fighting in water. But that situation has to happen for this trait to be useful.

So, it comes in handy sometimes.

Water Genasi Bard

Water Genasi shouldn’t choose Bard. This race doesn’t give you a bonus to Charisma, but the extra spells that Water Genasi gets to add to Bard’s list.

The main advantage of playing a bard as a water genasi is that you get more spells from the Call to the Wave trait.

This gives Bard’s Magical Secrets feature more things it can do. Still, the spells you get are very useful depending on the situation.

Water Genasi Cleric

For Water Genasi, Clerical is a good choice. Their default increase in Wisdom is in line with the Cleric’s ability to cast spells, and their increase in Constitution and resistance to acid damage make them more tanky, even though acid damage isn’t very common.

If you play with the default racial Ability Score Increases, the +1 Water Genasi is a good choice if you want to play a Cleric in 5e because it helps this class cast spells.

Also, the acid damage resistance is good if you want to play a cleric who is more focused on tanking. But because it’s not used very often, it’s only as useful as what was said before.

The same goes for the spells of the Water Genasi. They are only useful in certain situations and don’t really help with how you play a cleric most of the time.

Water Genasi Druid

A Druid isn’t a terrible choice for Water Genasi. The Druid’s Spellcasting Ability works well with the Wisdom Ability Score Increase, but that’s about all the race has to offer for these characters.

Most of the spells a Water Genasi gives to a Druid are ones that the class already has, so it’s either redundant or gives your character more options.

Like the Cleric, the Water Genasi are a good race to choose if you want to be a Druid. This is because their default +1 to Wisdom is used by the class to cast spells.

Unfortunately, the Druid’s Wild Shape can cover everything that the Water Genasi does.

Want to be able to swim faster or breathe underwater? Reach the 4th level to gain access to 5e’s beasts with swim speeds.

Yes, your increased ability score helps the druid cast spells. But, the Water Genasi’s racial traits aren’t really beneficial as a whole.

Water Genasi Fighter

The fighter is fine for Water Genasi, mostly because it raises their base constitution.

The biggest benefits of being a water genasi fighter are being immune to acid damage and having your constitution score go up.

If you’re fighting in the water, being able to swim fast and breathe underwater will help you a lot. But that depends on your game and the adventures your game master sets up.

As a fighter, Water Genasi doesn’t really add much to your ability to deal damage. You don’t get a stat that helps you attack or deal damage with the default Ability Score Increases. But at least your hit points get a boost.

Water Genasi Monk

With their Wisdom stat going up, Water Genasi can choose the Monk class. Still, nothing else helps the monk class very much.

The fact that a Water Genasi Monk can’t make their Dexterity score go up hurts them in battle, and their spellcasting doesn’t add much to how they play.

The Water Genasi has nothing that really helps the Monk.

Your default bonus to Wisdom is your best benefit because it makes the monk’s skills better. On the other hand, this doesn’t help them that much.

There are only a few things about the Monk that force you to make saves based on your Wisdom score.

Aside from that, it’s nice to have protection from acid damage when you need it. But the other traits don’t really help a Monk player.

Water Genasi Paladin

All things considered, the Paladin class is a good choice for a Water Genasi. The default increase to Wisdom doesn’t help much, but the bonus to Constitution does help with how Paladins usually play.

Also, the spells a Water Genasi gets help make up for how few spells a Paladin can cast.

That being said, and I’ll say it again, the spells you get from playing a Water Genasi are very situational and don’t help you much as a Paladin in general.

In D&D 5e, the Paladin is one of the classic Tank classes. Because of this, the Paladin doesn’t really need to be able to shape water or create or destroy water.

They don’t really do anything to deal with or reduce damage, except maybe put out fires to stop further damage.

The Water Genasi is best for a Paladin because it gives them a +2 to the constitution and protects them from acid damage.

If you fight a lot in the water, the swim speed and water breathing are also nice. However, they depend on the situation.

Water Genasi Ranger

The Water Genasi Ability Score Increase in Wisdom is a good fit for the Ranger. The race’s spells also help make up for the class’s limited spellcasting skills, but they aren’t very useful most of the time.

Rangers also have a small number of spells they can cast, so learning the Water Genasi can help. But, once again, the spells you do get can be useful in certain situations.

The rangers aren’t mostly casters either. So, the +1 to Wisdom that comes as a default only helps so much.

For melee-focused Rangers, the +2 Constitution increase and acid damage resistance are nice, but the lack of Strength or Dexterity improvements makes your attacks a little worse.

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Again, the swim speed and water breathing are nice to have if you fight often in or near water.

Water Genasi Rogue

Water Genasi doesn’t do well with Rogue. The spells you get don’t really help Rogues in any way, and the default Ability Score Increases don’t support their core stats.

The Rogue gets nothing good from what the Water Genasi has to offer.

If you play a Rogue well, you should be able to avoid or lessen most of the damage you take, so the default Constitution increase shouldn’t be that helpful. And having more Wisdom doesn’t help the class in any way.

Really, Rogues are probably the ones who use acid damage resistance the most. Most of the time, this class goes ahead to check for traps and disarm them.

In most D&D games, traps are a good way to use acid damage, so a Water Genasi Rogue may get the most out of this trait.

Aside from that, it can be useful to know how fast you can swim and how to breathe underwater. But the spells you get don’t really help you as a Rogue player.

Water Genasi Sorcerer

Water Genasi is fine as a Sorcerer. Sorcerers can only know a limited number of spells, so the extra spells they get from racial traits are mostly just a way to make up for the spells they can’t use.

Sorcerers can only know a certain number of spells, so the extra spells they learn from the Call to the Wave trait of the Water Genasi help them do more. The worst thing about these spells is that they can only help so much.

The +2 Constitution Ability Score Increase that comes as a default is good for spellcasters because it helps them make better concentration-saving throws.

Sorcerers are also good at Constitution saves, which makes this stat increase even better. On the other hand, the +1 Wisdom doesn’t help Sorcerers, so you’d have to use the rules for Customizing Your Origin to change that to Charisma.

It can be helpful to be able to breathe underwater, but spellcasters don’t need to be able to swim quickly. Spells aren’t affected by water as much as weapons are, so you won’t need to be as good at moving around in the water.

Water Genasi Warlock

Warlock is a good choice for a Water Genasi because your race gives you access to spells that you wouldn’t normally have as a Warlock. Still, these spells only help in certain circumstances.

Warlocks can only cast spells in a limited way, just like Sorcerers, but in a different way. So, having the Water Genasi’s natural ability to cast spells is a good addition if you can use those situational spells.

Again, the default Constitution boost helps with concentration saves. But the Warlock’s spellcasting ability is Charisma, so the base Water Genasi Ability Score Increases can only help so much.

As a spellcaster, you want to avoid damage as much as possible, so acid damage resistance shouldn’t come up too often unless you’re playing the Hexblade Warlock Patron.

Lastly, a warlock wouldn’t really benefit from swimming faster, since their spells aren’t usually affected by their limited movement. Again, the Hexblade Warlock is an exception to this rule because it is more focused on combat.

Water Genasi Wizard

Wizard isn’t a good class for Water Genasi because the class’s enhanced spellcasting lets them do everything their race lets them do.

Also, Water Genasi’s default Ability Score Increases don’t help Wizards in any way besides making their concentration saves better.

Since the Wizard is the most powerful magical class, he or she can already do almost everything the Water Genasi can do.


How Tall Are Water Genasi?

Water Genasi are about the same height as their human parents, but most of the time they look like people. So, they are usually less than five feet and more than six feet tall, which makes them Medium-sized. In 5e, Water Genasi are Medium-sized creatures when it comes to their Size category. They look like their human parents, so their heights vary the same way. Still, most Water Genasi are descended from humans, so they are usually between five and six feet tall.

How Long Do Genasi Live?

Water Genasi get older at the same rate as humans, but they can live up to 120 years. Simple as that. Water Genasi can live up to 120 years, but they age just like humans do. So, they become adults around age 20, go through middle age between the ages of 40 and 50, and reach old age in their 70s or 80s.

What Language Does Water Genasi Speak?

Water Genasi can communicate in both Common and Primordial. Straightforward. Because of their default racial traits, Water Genasi can speak both Common and Primordial well. You can, of course, change the languages your Water Genasi character knows if you use Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything’s Customizing Your Origin rules.

Can Water Genasi Breathe Underwater?

Yes, thanks to their amphibious trait, water genasi can breathe underwater. The Amphibious trait of the Water Genasi says, “You can breathe both air and water.” So, it’s not hard for these characters to breathe underwater.

Is Water Genasi Made of Water?

No. There is no water in Water Genasi. They have skin and bones, just like other living things. Because they were born to humans, Water Genasi are made of solid matter. Even though they have parts of their bodies that are similar to water elementals, they are not made of water.

Final Words

About everything you need to know to play a Water Genasi in 5e is on that list.

They are a group of Genasi who have ties to water elementals or were affected by the Elemental Plane of Water when they were born.

Even though they have this connection, most of the time they have at least one mortal parent and look like other humanoids with this background.

Still, they often have strange and magical physical traits that show they are connected to the water element.

For example, they may be able to breathe underwater, have a different skin tone, or be able to cast low-level spells that control water.

Unfortunately, the Water Genasi doesn’t work well with the usual way to play or any particular class. Your best choices are a few spellcasting classes.